‘Vessel sunk within minutes’… hake trawler tragedy survivors recall ordeal
WALVIS BAY – Visibly traumatised crew members of the Hangana Seafood-owned Resplendent yesterday struggled to hold back tears as they recalled the final moments of the hake trawler, which sank off the Namibian coast on Tuesday.
The witnesses said they were forced to abandon their sinking vessel, which went down in minutes.
“We barely had time as the vessel sunk within minutes. Some of the crew jumped into the sea without safety gear as the vessel was going under very fast,” said one of the 26 surviving crew members.
Unfortunately, vessel skipper Carlo Gordon was still missing yesterday and his family and loved ones were forced to admit he has been lost at sea after search efforts were suspended at 15h00 yesterday. A surviving crew member yesterday told New Era that everything happened so fast and that he was struggling to remember the sequence of the events.
“I am grateful that we could make it out alive but it breaks my heart that our captain is still missing,” the crew member said shortly after being discharged from the Welwitschia hospital. He indicated that three of his colleagues were injured during the sea drama and are still in hospital. According to him, their captain allegedly went back to the vessel to help some of the crew who were struggling to launch an emergency boat.
The 26 crew members were brought to shore by Fisher Bank, a vessel also owned by Hangana Seafood on Tuesday.
Managing director of Hangana Seafood Herman Theron yesterday morning also met with Gordon’s family, saying the company will continue to provide necessary support to them. Namibian Food and Allied Union (Nafau) regional organiser Josef Makanga also indicated that the seamen reported to the union offices yesterday but were too traumatised and had to be sent back home. “They had been through a very difficult situation and we want to give them time to deal with it before we can even allow them speak to anyone,” he said yesterday.
Meanwhile, the mother company of Hangana Seafood, the Ohlthaver & List group has described the incident as tragic and unfortunate. “We are immensely grateful for the safety and successful rescue of 26 of our crew members.
They were issued with dry clothes on their return this morning (yesterday) and referred to hospital for medical attention to determine their well-being,” O&L group spokesperson Roux-ché Locke said in the statement.
Locke added that the company in respect to the affected families and friends, have requested all their employees to refrain from engaging in any related conversations, especially on social media, while a full investigation has been launched into the incident.
Eveline de Klerk
2020-02-20 08:01:19 | 4 months ago